IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Primaries are over - is an (even more) brain dead Senate in our future?; 2010 tied for warmest ever --- so make like the walruses and head to the beach! (Or like the denialists and put your head in the sand); Louisiana's river of dead fish ... PLUS: The really, really, really final stretch for BP's oil well? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Monsanto hired notorious security firm Blackwater; PA Governor apologizes for tracing anti-drilling groups; Mexico's Push To Install 3,000 MW of Wind by 2014; Get the FAQS: Feed-in tariffs and renewable energy payments for homeowners; Deutsche Bank debunks deniers with new report; Giant solar-power plant development moves forward in CA; Judge orders Halliburton, KBR to face lawsuits over Iraq-Afgh. 'burn pits'; White roofs really DO save energy; FDA set to accept junk science for 'Frankenfish' ...PLUS: Creepy Science Behind Genetically Engineered "Frankenfish" About to Enter Our Food Supply Unlabeled ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Paved With Dead Fish: Massive Fish Kill in Mississippi River (NOLA.com):
- Attack of the Climate Zombies? Get Ready for the Brain Dead Senate::
- Dawn of the brain-dead Senate: GOP fills candidate slate with climate zombies who deny science (Climate Porgress)
- GOP Senate Candidates Oppose Climate Science And Policy (Wonk Room) [emphasis added]:
A comprehensive Wonk Room survey of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate finds that nearly all dispute the scientific consensus that the United States must act to fight global warming pollution.
This finding is shared by scientific bodies around the world. However, in the alternate reality of the fossil-fueled right wing, climate science is confused or a conspiracy, and policies to limit pollution would destroy the economy.
Remarkably, of the dozens of Republicans vying for the 37 Senate seats in the 2010 election, no one supports climate action, after climate advocate Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) lost his primary to Christine O'Donnell. Even former climate advocates Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) now toe the science-doubting party line.
Many of the Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries' Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America.
In reality, a carbon cap-and-trade market - by rewarding work instead of pollution - would increase jobs, lower electricity bills, restore American competitiveness, and forestall a climate catastrophe.
- The dumbing down of Carly Fiorina: Apparently, you have to pretend to be ignorant of science to win a Republican primary these days (Climate Progress)
- Pants on Fire: Fiorina attacks Boxer for caring more about "the weather" than terrorism (Politifact)
- OP-ED: The GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers (Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- >The Pro-Salmonella Senate GOP: Coburn Cites Cost To Justify Obstructing Deficit-Neutral Food Safety Bill (Wonk Room)
- MORE Signs of Global Warming in the Arctic, So Make Like the Walrus and Head to the Beach:
- NASA reports hottest January to August on record: August tied for hottest in UAH satellite record* (Climate Progress)
- NOAA: 2010 Tied with 1998 as Warmest Global Temperature on Record: Summer 2010 the second warmest on record, Arctic sea ice continues its 14-year decline (NOAA)
- NASA reports hottest January-July on record, says that 2010 is “likely” to be warmest year on record and July is “What Global Warming Looks Like”: World Meteorological Organization (UK): "Unprecedented sequence of extreme weather events ... matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming." (Climate Progress)
- 2010 Headed Toward Being Hottest Year on Record (Washington Post) (Washington Post)
- Arctic Sea Ice Looks to be the Third Lowest on Record in 2010 (Climate Central)
- Walrus radio-tracking in the southern Chukchi Sea 2010 (US Geological Survey)
- Arctic: What's causing a massive walrus haulout in northwest Alaska? (Alaska Dispatch)
- Scientists investigate massive walrus haul-out in Alaska: Scientists fear declining Arctic sea ice may have caused an unprecedented mass migration to dry land (Guardian UK)
Look to the north from a seaside street in the small village of Point Lay, Alaska and you'll witness a phenomenon that has locals and scientists alike awestruck: A few miles down the coastline, tens of thousands of walruses are jammed together in a tight beach-bound pod to catch a little R&R from their daily routine.
This is not a small group --- we're talking in the neighborhood of 40 million collective pounds of massive marine mammal.
- Update: BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf:
- Allen: Blown-out Gulf well to be sealed by Sunday (AP)
- LISTEN: 9/15 Press Briefing with Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander, and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator (U.S. Coast Guard)
- Massive La. Fishkill Prompts Oil Spill Questions: Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Fish in Bayou Near Mississippi River; Oil, Chemical Dispersant, Oxygen Levels Eyed as Culprits (WWL-TV, New Orleans)
- Louisiana seeks cause of massive fish kill: But a top state official said he has seen no proof that the spill was the cause. (Washington Post Carbon)
- Officials: Massive Fish Kill Hits Louisiana Bayou, But BP Ain't To Blame (The Consumerist)
- Gulf oil spill claims chief faces angry crowd on Alabama coast (AP)
- Only 160 deepwater rig workers have applied for aid from $100 million BP fund (NOLA.com)
- New Orleans man was paid by U.S. to rate news coverage of oil spill cleanup (NOLA.com)
- Louisiana sand berms are not stopping much oil from Gulf of Mexico spill, EPA says (NOLA.com)
- BP ends Vessels of Opportunity program (Mobile Press-Register)
- Drilling Moratorium Hasn't Cost Any Jobs In The Gulf, Feds Say (Huffington Post Green)
- WATCH: BP CEO Tony Hayward Testifies Before UK Parliament on Safety of Deepwater Drilling in the North Sea (C-SPAN)
- BP's outgoing CEO Tony Hayward tells UK lawmakers Gulf spill shouldn't end deepwater drilling (Canadian Press Assoc.):
[Hayward] rejected suggestions that deepwater drilling should end as a result of the accident.
"I do not think that is wise given the world's demands for oil and gas," he said.
- Gulf of Mexico oil spill response leader Thad Allen to step down Oct. 1 (NOLA.com):
The main focus of the office after the transition and under Zukunft will be on cleaning oil from areas along the Gulf Coast where it remains, including nine environmentally sensitive marsh areas in Louisiana, Zukunft said. That job will extend "well into November."
Other duties, that had fallen to the Unified Area Command during the height of the response period, such as seafood safety, behavioral health and community outreach, will instead return to the the purview of government agencies that would normally attend to those issues, Allen said.
"Ultimately, at some point, if we're just waiting to respond to oil, we will return the duty to the local Coast Guard," Allen said. "When we're all done, there may still be oil in the marshes but there will be nothing more we can do without damaging the marshes."
- Interior Dept. Orders Abandoned Wells, Rigs Plugged
- Interior: Idle wells in Gulf must be plugged (AP)
- Oil industry says Obama administration plan to double offshore inspection fees could cost jobs: The industry recognizes the need for improved inspections and oversight following the BP oil spill, said American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard. But doubling the fees is not appropriate, especially during a recession, he said. (Mobile Press-Reigster)
- New post-oil spill rules slow Gulf drilling pace in shallow water : The drilling moratorium enacted after the BP oil spill applies only to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Yet energy exploration in the Gulf's shallow waters has come to a virtual standstill as drillers grapple with tougher federal rules since the spill. (Mobile Press-Register)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Blackwatering the crops: Notorious agribiz giant Monsanto hired notorious security firm Blackwater (Grist):
Jeremy Scahill, The Nation's ace investigative journalist who has been dogging Blackwater and breaking news on the shadowy company for years, has the goods. Monsanto hired the company in 2008, Scahill reports.
In an email obtained by Scahill, a Blackwater operative who had talked to Monsato officials ahead of the hiring claimed that the security firm would "develop into acting as intel arm of Monsanto" --- including infiltrating activist groups working to oppose it. The operative wrote hopefully of Monsato's "generous protection budget."
- Pa. Governor Apologizes for Tracking Enviro Extremists, but Questions Remain (Pro Publica):
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said on Tuesday he was "deeply embarrassed " by his Office of Homeland Security's use of a bulletin that labeled opponents to gas drilling as "environmental extremists" and said the information had come from an anti-terrorism consulting firm that produces information about potential threats to the state's security and infrastructure.
- Mexico's Push To Install 3,000 MW of Wind by 2014: As the country works to harness the power of its strong winds, some experts wonder if the government is doing enough. (Renewable Energy World) [emphasis added]:
With 300,0000 inhabitants, Oaxaca is a windy region in Southern Mexico resting 1555 meters over the sea. The wind is so strong that 7,000 houses lost their roofs when a cold front passed through this past February.
Like Tejeda, Gustavo Camougnani, a Greenpeace campaigner, says the state must do more to support a domestic industry instead of allowing foreign firms to dominate in the market.
"We need more of this energy to reach Mexicans, not just a bunch of rich corporates," he says, noting Felipe Calderon administration's current plans as having "little ambition."
"Wind blows harder in Mexico than other countries and it's in fact much more abundant than in Spain. So why has Spain succeeded?" Cayuga asks. "They have invested, something that the Mexican government is failing do to because it still mainly sees itself as an oil producing country. It needs to change its mindset or it won't develop its renewable energy potential."
- Get the FAQS: Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Energy Payments: What are feed-in tariffs? Why are they important? And more... (Wind-Works.org)
- New Lawsuit Filed in Fracking Country: More than a dozen families in Susquehanna County, Pa., filed a lawsuit against the Southwestern Energy Production Company, asserting that the company's nearby drilling sites contaminated their drinking water and made them sick. (New York Times)
- Deutsche Bank Debunks Skeptics with a Report --- and a $5 Billion Climate Portfolio : Bank's investors, asset managers are primary audience of the study, which confirms long term threat of climate change and need for financial response
- Giant Solar-Power Plant Development Moves Forward In U.S.: California regulators Wednesday approved construction of what will be the world's biggest solar plant, one of a string of super-sized developments in the state that will more than double the solar power generation capacity in the U.S. (Dow Jones)
- Halliburton, KBR Ordered by Judge to Face Military Suits Over Pit Burning (Bloomberg News) [emphasis added]:
Halliburton Co. and KBR Inc. must face lawsuits brought by military personnel and contractors allegedly harmed by contaminated water and toxic emissions from burning waste in Iraq and Afghanistan, a judge said.
U.S. District Judge Roger Titus in Greenbelt, Maryland, who is overseeing 43 lawsuits on the matter, yesterday rejected the companies' claims of immunity for combat-related activities, saying he was concerned it would limit legal remedies for people who allege they were injured.
"Courts must be prepared to adjudicate cases that ultimately expose defense contractors to appropriate liability," Titus wrote. The judge said he favored a "limited" pre-trial exchange of information in the case, to avoid burdening the military and its personnel in wartime.
- White roofs promoted to save energy (Wall St. Journal):
Herb Van Gent points his infrared gun at a square of still unpainted gray shingle and clicks the trigger. He gets an immediate temperature reading: 143 degrees and rising. Then he aims it 5 feet away to a square of roof I have just painted: 98 degrees and decreasing.
"A 45-degree difference and we're only on the first coat," he says. That means it also will be cooler inside the building, he says, saving energy.
- Smells fishy: FDA set to accept junk science for 'Frankenfish' safety studies (Grist):
These salmon, which contain growth genes from Chinook salmon as well as the ocean pout, are truly monsters. They grow faster and end up larger than normal Atlantic salmon. And they just received preliminary approval from the FDA; the final nod is likely to come in the next month.
- The Creepy Science Behind Genetically Engineered "Frankenfish" About to Enter Our Food Supply Unlabeled:
This salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the U.S. food supply, and the science behind its approval process is frightening.
- White roofs promoted to save energy (Wall St. Journal):